Earlier this year, the NSW Government announced that the NSW residential land foreign person surcharge provisions are inconsistent with international tax treaties entered into by the Federal Government. Now it has been announced that citizens of India, Japan, Norway and Switzerland are relieved from the foreign person surcharges. They join the citizens of New Zealand, Finland, Germany, and South Africa who received their good news in February.
Effective immediately, individuals that are citizens of the nations concerned purchasing NSW residential-related property, or land in their own capacity, will no longer be required to pay surcharge purchaser duty or surcharge land tax.
Surcharge purchaser duty or surcharge land tax liability for non-individuals, such as corporations, trusts or partnerships that arises because of an entity’s affiliation with these nations, may also be affected by the international tax treaties.
Refunds may be available for purchasers/transferees and landowners from the eight nations concerned who paid surcharge purchaser duty or surcharge land tax on or after 1 January 2021. The backdating of the relief start date (from the earlier announced 1 July 2021) means that refunds of the 2021 land tax surcharge should be available for affected landowners.
Revenue NSW has indicated that it will identify affected landowners in due course. Another possibility is to claim refunds through Land Tax Online. Landowners who are citizens of the eight countries are invited to call their Mazars advisor to discuss what they should do. The announcement does not affect ordinary transfer duty and land tax liabilities – only the surcharges.
The inclusion of more countries in the list of nations whose citizens will benefit from the surcharge relief is not out of the question. Further, it would not be surprising if an aggrieved and heavily taxed landowner might mount a legal challenge to the imposition of the duty and tax before 1 January 2021.
Victoria has announced that it will not be refunding its equivalent surcharges. The other Australian states with equivalent residential land surcharges for foreign persons appear to be keeping their powder dry at the moment. We are not aware of any declared position from their governments.
For further information please contact your usual Mazars advisor or alternatively one of our experts via the form below or on:
Authors: Stephen Baxter and Eileen Li
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